At Kindercare Fostering Northern Ireland we know that exploring fostering for the first time can be complex, most people have little prior knowledge of the fostering process.
Some carers specialise in having short term foster placements. The length of these placements can last from a couple of days to a maximum of two years and are for children and young people who might return to their birth families.
Long term placements are for children and young people who are very unlikely to return to their birth families.
Younger children in these placements are often placed for adoption but older children are better suited to long term foster care until they reach adulthood.
Long term foster care involves a considerable commitment to the child, who will become part of your family.
A much shorter arrangement than either of these options is bridging care. A bridging carer will look after a child while long term foster parents or adoptive parents are sought.
Two other types of fostering, emergency placement fostering and respite fostering are both short term and short notice.
As an emergency carer, a young person in crisis, in need of a safe place away from the family home might be placed with you.
Respite fostering happens when a birth family is experiencing difficulties and a child is placed temporarily with carers to give all family members a break from the strains they are experiencing.
At the Kindercare Fostering Northern Ireland we know that there are as many different types of carer as there are children in need of care, so we encourage you to explore the options that are available.
The care you offer needs to match the life you lead, foster care can be flexible for both you and the child you care for.